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Lessons Learned so far - Feb. Spain Trip

Here’s some of the notes I’ve taken each evening as I reflected on the day. I will go ahead and share them now, in case it’s helpful for someone planning to leave soon. (We still have another week here.)

Those perfect bulkhead seats in Economy Comfort for the international leg of the flight that I booked early? I hope someone was able to enjoy them as we sat fogged in at our airport. Our new seats were middle ones together, and we arrived in Spain. Sometimes that’s all that matters. : )

Bring the Sherpani tote. Having it really helped me sleep on the plane - laying on top of plane tray & pillow on top of it to sleep. Also, it was very important for keeping my medicine and iPad with me when my backpack was stowed under the bus on some routes.

For Amsterdam-to-Malaga flight, they stopped everyone in line about halfway through and made them check their bag. I had moved my iPad, chargers, paper tickets for events & medicine to the Sherpani, just in case. It was a lesson to not just bring my crossbody purse as my personal item. One guy was throwing a major ruckus at being forced to check his carry on bag!

Be kind to yourself. When the running water was unexpectedly off for a day in our apartment in Estepona, we went to a nice hotel for one night. Why be miserable? Just restart the next day and enjoy the time there.

Bring the pj pants for lounging in apartments. Also, to be warmer sleeping some evenings.

Bring the long-sleeve t-shirt. I added that last-minute before we left since the forecast was cooler. I slept in it when it was colder during Cadiz’s stormy night. During the day, it layered well with a 32 degree shirt.

Knowing some Spanish - in Malaga, Estepona & Cadiz, there were times that we needed Spanish for communication. Luckily, several Italian words are similar to help catch the meaning. I had to ask a few questions during the Carnaval at Cadiz. Both times, a young group had to call a teenager over to understand some English words. We used Google translate a few times to pull up words, such as “pizza to go”.

We always bring our two Flip & Tumble ripstop nylon bags that squish into its own tiny ball in a pocket. We used those a lot for grocery shopping.

I brought my tiny 3-zip LeSportsac crossbody purse with me to wear inside my coat during the crowded Cadiz Carnival. I also found it very handy anytime it was raining to use it instead of my regular Baggallini crossbody. My phone, apartment key, some Euros, extra TP & two single use Purells were all I needed. I used it more than my Baggalini purse.

We both prefer bar soap to shower gel, so I brought a half Italian bar in a Ziploc bag. All of the locations have been shower gel, only.

Did I need my Keen sandals? No, but it was nice to wear them in Estepona. This was the first time I brought sneakers as my main shoe. I would definitely bring them again for this season.

Did I bring the right clothes?

I brought two 32 degree micro-thin long-sleeves scoop neck shirts. These were my workhorses. I wore the black and plum ones together with a lightweight necklace, one at a time, or the black one layered when needed. They wash & dry quickly.

I brought (including my plane outfit) three 3/4 shirts. I could have eliminated the lightest weight one that I only wore in Estepona. I threw in a long-sleeve t-shirt last-minute with the colder forecast, and I was happy to have it. I wore it in Malaga & Cadiz.

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Did I bring the right clothes? (Cont.)

I brought (including my plane outfit) a pair of thicker pants & a pair of leggings. I used them constantly and was fine with just two pair.

Four pairs of socks, five underwear and three bras. Turquoise Columbia hip length raincoat.

Clothes have taken longer to dry, so I wouldn’t bring any less if I was packing my backpack right now.

If either of us really wanted a puffy vest or jacket or even a sweater, there were plenty available at the local Saturday market at Estepona which also had lots of clothing shops, or we could have shopped at Cadiz.

We’re having a fantastic time! I will write a trip report in a few weeks. : )

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856 posts

I always enjoy your packing posts! Hope you have a great trip!

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6823 posts

I liked the running water unexpectedly off comment. It reminded me of when I lived in Spain in the late 70s. It and no electricity were a common occurrence in the country at that time.

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7466 posts

Jaimeelsabio, this incident of no running water was due to a construction worker hitting it while they were working on updates to the street, etc. It happened around 8am, and we decided to move to a hotel for the night at 4:30pm.

Fortunately, neither of us had a head full of shampoo when it broke - LOL!

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1459 posts

Jean, I love your thread and sense of adventure. I look forward to reading more. Enjoy your trip!

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14288 posts

"It was a lesson to not just bring my crossbody purse as my personal item. One guy was throwing a major ruckus at being forced to check his carry on bag!"

Jean! I'm so glad you had the Sherpani! I am learning that sometimes it's OK to have an extra shirt or go with couple of bags. I'm all for having a very small thin bag that will zip up under a jacket too!

Enjoy your last week!

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7466 posts

Pam, I would love to skip the Baggalini purse on my upcoming solo trip in May! … except for one item. On this trip when I’m carrying the tiny purse under my coat, my husband is “my reading eyes” for anything on the phone maps.

If I carry a pair of my reading glasses, the tiny purse is stuffed, and my coat puffs out making me look like I went on a gelato overload spree! LOL!

The Sherpani bag sat in my “maybe” spot for the whole week before we left. I went ahead and brought it in case I decided to buy a souvenir and just to have extra space in both my backpack and tote. So glad I brought it!

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2492 posts

Glad to read you're having a great trip. Looking forward to the TR!

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2238 posts

Thanks for taking the time to make this post. We’re heading to Spain in late April and I’m following along. Your wardrobe choices really help. We’re doing Barcelona, Madrid, Granada and Seville, before heading up to the Basque region in early May, so I’m trying to prepare for different temperatures. We did this trip in 2015 around the same time and I was surprised when I look at my notes as to what clothing we needed or didn’t have. I need to wrap my head around the fact that I can buy something during the trip.

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9901 posts

Love your post, so glad you are having a fun time, Jean !!

I ALWAYS look in my coat like I have had a gelato extravaganza haha

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5262 posts

Hi Jean,
I always enjoy reading your posts, enjoy the rest of your trip!

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756 posts

Lots of great advice here! Looking forward to reading more! Thanks, Jean!

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968 posts

Jean! How did I miss that you were going to Spain right after my trip! Hope you are having a great time. Thanks for all your tips on Granada!

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”I ALWAYS look in my coat like I have had a gelato extravaganza haha”

Kim, I may need to buy a bigger coat if we stayed longer - ha! My husband likes to stop in a gelato shop each day, saying he’s making up for all of the time I go to Europe traveling solo! ; ) Let’s just say I will have plenty of gelato shops to mention thanks to his love of gelato and many more gelato spoons for my collection - ha! We have one more full day in Cadiz, and I know exactly which one I will be walking towards this evening!

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Today it turned warm, sunny, and no wind in Cadiz - yeah! Back to my lightest top, leggings and Keen sandals! We grabbed lunch and ate it on our private 10th floor terrace with lots of sunshine and gorgeous view over Plaza San Juan de Dios.

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I’m really enjoying your posts, Jean! And you say. “gelato overload spree” like that’s a bad thing lol! So many flavors, so little time…we just discovered fresh ginger plus ? in a tiny hole in the wall made by a northern Italian expat in Mexico…yum! Enjoy your trip!

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Cathy, ooh, yum! That sounds fantastic! Glad to hear you’re not doing without gelato!

We haven’t missed any snowstorms in Idaho, but the sun today feels so wonderful!!

Here’s my favorite tasting gelato in Cadiz, and the decor is so cute, too!

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7030 posts

Jean, such a good report! I love the Sherpani totes. My daughter has one and uses it all the time. And your tiny crossbody sounds perfect. DId you bring that and the Baggallini? Or just the LeSportsac?

It sounds like you are having a wonderful time! I am sorry about having to forfeit your comfort seats, but I'd say the trip is making up for it! Can't wait for the trip report--keep having a great time!

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Hi Mardee, I brought my 10x10” Baggallini crossbody that I planned to use almost all of the time. It was fine for walking around sunny & warm Estepona.

My plan was to wear the tiny LeSportsac under my coat while we were in the very crowded streets of the Cadiz Carnaval. But, wow, it’s nice to not have a larger purse when a small one will do! So anytime I’m wearing the coat, I just wear the LeSportsac and skip the larger purse.

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6381 posts

Great post, Jean. I love your travel tips. Small bags for shopping, pj or lounge pants, long sleeved tees - yep, these are things we have learned over the years.

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498 posts

Jane, I’d love to know the size/name of your tiny crossbody bag that you can wear under your coat. That sounds like such a good idea. I was on the le Sportsac website but couldn’t figure which bag you have. Thanks.